The Aluminum Association tells us half the story

With the recent news release on aluminum beverage can recycling rates from The Aluminum Association, there is bad news hidden within the good news.

Let me start by saying I am very supportive of higher recycling rates, but what I don’t support is reporting recycling numbers and not putting them in a full historical context, while making it look like long-term progress.

I received the latest email newsletter yesterday from the Greener Package, and one of the headlines reads, U.S. aluminum can recycling reaches 57.4% in 2009. Sounds great right?

Well it turns out that this number is well below the 1998 rate of 62.8 % and only marginally better than the 55.4% of 2001. And these numbers were from a report of July 2009 by the same industry source, The Aluminum Association.

Admittedly we are going in the right direction, but the question is what were we doing in the late 1990s that we are not doing now? Anyone know?


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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